DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Delray Beach residents and tourists were urged by officials to prepare as Tropical Storm Nicole is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane and approach Florida’s east coast sometime Wednesday.
According to Local 10 Hurricane Specialist and Storm Surge Expert Michael Lowry, “If Nicole strikes Florida as a hurricane, it would be the second Florida hurricane landfall this year after Ian on September 28th, making 2022 the first season with two Florida hurricane landfalls since 2005.”
Local 10 News’ Annaliese Garcia spoke with longtime Delray Beach resident John Della Rocco who said he isn’t taking any chances with it comes to storm preparation.
“You gotta be prepared to take cover and be optimistic about it,” said Della Rocco. “Stock up with water, batteries and medical supplies or anything you need and help out your neighbors.”
Tourists visiting Dania Beach told Local 10 News that visitors staying at hotels closest to the water may have to evacuate because of possible storm surge.
“Right now, it doesn’t look as bad, but I guess it’s the calm before the storm, as they say,” said Delray Beach visitor Chris Licursi.
John Gergen, who has lived in Delray Beach for 25 years, told Local 10 News that he’s pretty experienced when it comes to storms.
“I’ve experienced from the best to the worst,” he said.
Gergen, who owns the restaurant Luna Rosa, which is across the street from Delray Beach, said that sometimes the biggest problem is when forecasters are wrong.
“The biggest concern is that if the weather forecasters are wrong, that the one will come into Delray,” he said. “They’re predicting how it’s going to come in 100 miles north of here.”
One of the biggest concerns for Delray residents is losing a portion of their beach due to erosion.
“I anticipate we’re going to lose a lot of beach here in Delray,” said Gergen. “But I don’t think we’re going to experience the storm surge like we did in 1999.”
Surfers were spotted by Local 10 News cameras riding the waves as Nicole is set to make landfall in the next 24 hours.
Dania Beach city officials are urging people to stay inside and avoid driving.
“Preparing is the best thing you can do no matter how small or big this storm is,” said Della Rocco.
Local 10 Hurricane Specialist and Storm Surge Expert Michael Lowry contributed to this story.